The extremely clear rejection of the E-ID legislation on 7 March 2021 astonished us and most political observers. The opponents not only unsettled with questions of regulatory and data policy on the E-ID law, they also mobilised the latent digitalisation and data protection fears in the population. The vote was described in various media as a “vote of trust”. It turned out that there was too little trust in this government legislation. Together with the fact that the benefits of an E-ID are still not clear enough, this led to a clear 2/3 rejection of the government legislation.

This means that we are once again at the beginning of a new political debate on whether and how Switzerland will a achieve an electronic identity that is controlled by the state. During the spring session, six identical motions entitled “Trustworthy, State E-ID” have already been submitted by parliamentarians from the FDP, glp, GPS, Mitte, SP and SVP. The motions call on the Federal Council to create a state E-ID and to comply with the principles of “privacy by design”, data economy and decentralised data storage. In addition, the issuing process and the overall operation should be carried out by state authorities. One can be curious about the consultation. In the meantime, private providers of identity solutions are moving forward and creating facts.

Even if digitalswitzerland has already positioned itself as a constructive force in the further process on the Sunday of the vote, it is now primarily the task of the opponents of the e-ID law and of politics to show what a politically and socially acceptable form of an e-ID should look like. We will continue to work on this topic.